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How to Be a Crappy SEO Client

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 15 years and 308 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

Bad clients will waste your time and destroy your business. Since SEO can deliever such cheap marketing sometimes it is easy to sell yourself short, taking on bad clients. – Aaron Wall

I really enjoy working with good clients. Helping to make a good business owner improve the financial return from the website is a fun thing. It is nice to measure things and watch them meet the goals and expectations that have been set. The client/ agency relationship is important to the success of a campaign. Proper expectations and communication of how a campaign will run is crucial to a working relationship.

In the past I’ve wrote about 10 things to ask your SEO company, and 10 questions to ask your SEO client. I guess this could be a continuation of that line of thinking. Good working business relationships are a beautiful thing and there really is an art and science to achieving that harmony.

It’s pretty hard to be a really crappy SEO client if your a good honest business person. I’m writing about this because lots of people trying to find their 5th SEO ARE. I don’t like crappy clients (or crappy people in general for that matter), so I’ve aided myself with some ways of identifying when someone will just not be someone I’d like to work with. I thought I’d write down the ideas to keep others from working with (or being) a crappy SEO client. I’m not saying that all crappy clients are crappy people, but there are characteristics and actions that apply to both. Even though it’s really easy to want to earn good money sometimes, I don’t think it’s so at the risk of working with a crappy client. This being said, I really enjoy 99% of my clients so don’t fret if you’re reading this (this doesn’t mean you all have to call today;) ).

So here goes the rules on how to be a crappy SEO client:

  1. Lie to your SEO – tell them you’re not a part of link farms, it was all your last SEO’s fault, or that you’ve never done any SEO.
  2. Don’t write ANY content
  3. Expect to rank for your two word phrase in a month (and stay there)
  4. Don’t tell your SEO about your new design – make design changes and overwrite your SEO’s changes
  5. Expect to make millions with a terrible business model
  6. Expect to double your money with no labor input
  7. Don’t tell your SEO about your 50 interlinking sites
  8. Don’t tell your SEO about the 132 domains pointing with meta-redirects to your site
  9. Don’t tell your SEO about the way you cloaked additional content into your pages for only Googlebot
  10. Don’t tell your SEO about all the guestbooks you signed
  11. Don’t tell your SEO about the automated reciprocal link software hidden on your site
  12. Suggest a business partnership on a business you have not started or invested anything into
  13. Expect to triple your money with no labor input
  14. Tell your SEO your 27 ideas for businesses you haven’t started
  15. Expect your SEO to magically quadruple your profits
  16. Don’t tell your SEO about the history of your site or other sites
  17. Expect guarantees about high rankings
  18. Expect that having your SEO sign an agreement to comply with ambigious SE guidelines will eliminate you from all risk of an SEO campaign.
  19. Call everyday to ask if the phonecall you got about purchasing guaranteed keywords from a toolbar of V.2 of the Internet would work.
  20. Don’t allow your SEO to see your stats or PPC campaigns
  21. Don’t tell your SEO about your shady affiliates
  22. Forward all Arelis generated spam e-mails requesting reciprocal links
  23. Ask the same question ten times different ways

Fess up! Find a SEO that you can trust, and place your trust with them and tell them the COMPLETE history and applicable information for your website.

I couldn’t find a great place for more information on the subject, but Jessie Chase Stricchiola of the Los Angeles SEO Company Alchemist Media spoke in Orlando (and Vegas I believe) about managing client expectations. It was really the best presentation I had heard on the subject, mainly because of her mention of BFRF’s – or Big Freakin’ Red Flags. I couldn’t manage to find the Vegas presentations CD or any of the presentation online, but there were some great ideas about asking a client’s history about SEO (like how many SEO’s they’ve worked with among others). As a consultant, a client screening process can be crucial.
From – “Is there really honest SEO” in the WMW supporter’s forum on choosing an SEO company:

  • If they called you, hang up the phone.
  • If they guarantee you top ten rankings, hang up the phone.
  • If they don’t know what is, hang up the phone.
  • If they require you to also use their hosting, hang up the phone.
  • If they tell you about this great new way of buying a keyword in the address bar, hang up the phone.
  • If they called you, hang up the phone.


Actually, the best way to go about it is to find someone reputable within the industry, and ask them for reputable SEOs – instead of approaching the SEO itself and asking them to speak with their clients.- subbu
This post was inspired in part by an ongoing series of articles on client/ agency relations by Shari Thurow. While many things that Shari discusses (like spam reports and ethics specifically) make me want to smash my head into my desk, I think she’s got her mind wrapped around client relations quite well. In How NOT to work with an SEO/SEM Shari says:

  • You’ll have to change your Web site. Accept this fact before contacting us.
  • Your site has no more right to high rankings than anyone else’s, regardless of your standing in the field or your brand’s renown.
  • Tell your Web developer to get with the program or get lost.
  • Marketing staff: take and pass an HTML 101 class (no cheating).
  • IT staff: take and pass a marketing and usability class (no cheating).
  • We just spent six months optimizing your site. It’s a little late to tell us you worked with three other SEO companies that specialize in cloaking, and that also mirror sites with identical content.

Discussion of How to not work with an SEO/SEM at threadwatch, and the second edition to the article

Amazing – from SEO Vent at by Aaron W.

What amazes me is that some extremely large companies view smart SEOs as total idiots. A while back a guy wanted me to create and promote his Canadian pharmacy website. The only portion of the business he had set in his mind was the 10% partnership deal with a pharmacy. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with the website (other than his 10%).

I explained to him that I could get a better percentage than that, and that I though the idea was poor. I always recommend learning, writing, teaching, and sharing what you are interested in. Somehow his Canadian pharmacy idea did not spark my serotonin, dopamine, norephedrine, or anything in my head.

Obviously I never worked for this one dumb guy, but others try to rephrase the same idea…thinking perhaps I am growing dumber by the day.

I couldn’t agree more Aaron. My patience is a bid tried with half baked ideas to make money off people. If someone treats their customers like idiots their most likely not going to succeed for long. People want, like, and deserve respect and will go elsewhere to find it. If you think you have a strong business model and are a good candidate for SEO services, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

This content remix brought to you courtesy of seo cut dj stuntdubl.

Tags: , , SEO Consulting , Internet Marketing Consulting

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